award-winning educator, mental health advocate, social entrepreneur, inspirational speaker, author/writer, program executive, and radio host
Incontinence: No Laughing Matter
Kimberly-Clark Corporation’s product Depend® has received media attention due to its commercials with men and women proudly wearing its product. This advertisement demonstrates that its protective underwear is fashionable for incontinence needs and users.
The more significant message in this advertisement is that individuals with incontinence needs shouldn’t feel embarrassment about wearing this type of product. Therefore, Kimberly-Clark’s advertisement demonstrates corporate responsibility by helping to change public opinion – for its users and others – about the quality, dependability, and normalcy of incontinence products.
During my visits to hospitals, nursing homes, and watching various television programs --- including national news, I’ve heard numerous individuals jokingly mention that a senior citizen needs to wear a diaper. A diaper?!?! Why would and should anyone demonstrate such disrespect for a medical necessity? --- especially in front of someone who needs to use an incontinence product.
Incontinence isn’t a laughable matter, as there are countless individuals who could, should, or do use these products. Nevertheless, there is probably a larger potential customer base that would use an incontinence product, but don’t or won’t use such products due to the potential for embarrassment, humiliation, or other disrespect.
Think about it, “Would you want to tell someone that you use an incontinence product?”. Well, incontinence product users probably don’t want to either. Notwithstanding, there isn’t a reason that anyone should be made to feel discounted because of any type of medical issue that requires assistance.
Users of incontinence or other medical products shouldn’t have their medical options limited due to the psychological impact of individuals making insensitive comments. Anyone who needs to use these types of products should be respected, supported, and their privacy safeguarded.
If you know or encounter someone who needs an incontinence product, do them and yourself a favor and don’t refer to their underwear as a ‘diaper’ or any other derogatory term; instead, use a more respectful description --- ‘protective underwear’.
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